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Philippine aid groups unite to plug disaster response gaps

Caritas leads way in setting up a system through an appto ensure prompt funding for aid efforts

Philippine aid groups unite to plug disaster response gaps

Father Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, speaks during the launch of the Shared Aid Fund For Emergency Response on May 15. (Photo courtesy of Caritas Philippines)

 

ucanews.com reporter, Manila
Philippines

May 17, 2018

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The social action secretariat of the Philippine Catholic bishops has joined forces with networks of non-government groups to address "financial gaps" in responding to disasters.

Father Edwin Gariguez of Caritas Philippines said the aim of the alliance is "to strengthen and expand" the networks and resources of various groups.

On May 15, the groups launched an app called SAFER, or Shared Aid Fund For Emergency Response, spearheaded by Father Gariguez.

The priest said the mechanism would ensure that funds would reach those most in need "in the fastest possible time."

"We will be able to fast-track relief work by providing the necessary funds to mobilize resources straight to affected communities," he said.

Among the alliance, aside from Caritas Philippines, are the Caucus of Development NGOs (CODE-NGO) and the Humanitarian Response Consortium, the country's biggest networks of NGOs.

Roselle Rasay of CODE-NGO said SAFER will enhance a "spirit of togetherness" among humanitarian aid providers.

"The main purpose is to strengthen and expand the networks, help each other and not compete for resources," she said.

Father Gariguez said an entity that will manage the gathering and distribution of resources for emergency responses will ensure "accountability and ethics."

"As humanitarian and development workers, integrity should be the essence and at the core of our work," said the priest.

Father Gariguez said the mechanism would track how contributions are spent and ensure that "timely, appropriate, and adequate assistance" is provided to affected communities.

Philippine humanitarian aid agencies started to conceptualize the creation of the mechanism in 2015 "to promote local collaboration and coordination."

"We want to develop a culture in which Filipinos can help their fellow Filipinos recover from disaster even without aid from other countries," said Melinda Gabuya, program manager of SAFER.

She said this can only be possible with the promotion of local responses to natural and man-made disasters.

Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona of Caceres, chairman of the social action body of the Philippine bishops' conference, said SAFER will help in the promotion of "localization" in disaster response.

"It is very essential to create avenues that will encourage Filipinos to take part in rebuilding lives and communities," said the prelate.

He said local humanitarian aid providers have already proven their capacity to respond to disasters using funds from local groups and institutions.

"With the creation of SAFER and the collective effort of different organizations that are dedicated in rebuilding communities, Filipinos can stand on their own feet," said the prelate.

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